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Commissioned by the Sociedad Estatal Acción Cultura Espagñola, Sotelo composed this piece in honour of the 200th anniversary of the 1812 Cádiz Constitution. He was inspired by the allegory La Verdad, el Tiempo y la Historia [“Truth, Time and History”], which refers to the eponymous painting Goya made for the 1812 occasion (the painting is now on display in the Stockholm National Museum). The three figures in the painting – apparently shrouded in a strange veil of light – are represented in the piece by a violin (Truth), a cajón (Time), and dance (History). Live electronics replace the eerie “light,” the entirety scenically presented by unconventional interpreters.
The group includes Patricia Kopachinskaya, the internationally celebrated Moldavian violinist (who recently gave the premiere performance of Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in Austria, where it was received enthusiastically by the public and critics alike), “La Moneta” (the flamenco dancer who enjoyed great success at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam and the Teatro Real opera house in Madrid when she performed in Sotelo’s Muerte sin fin), Agustin Diaserra playing the flamenco cajón and Fernando Villanueva, in charge of the light projections – both the latter having always been part of the composer’s recent pieces.
Currently, Sotelo is Composer in Residence at Berlin’s Wissenschaftskolleg [“Institute for Advanced Study”], an award-winning college which, every year, selects a choice group of scholars from all over the world, as well as a composer or instrumentalist, to work there. (The roster of musical names to date includes Nono, Ligeti, Kurtág, Lachenmann and pianist Alfred Brendel). Sotelo is the first Spanish musician to be honoured by the invitation; he is already preparing his opera El público there (commissioned by Gerard Mortier for the Teatro Real – the premiere is slated for February 2015).
Sotelo’s honours have been numerous: the Premio Nacional de Musica (2001), the national Music Prize from the Spanish Ministry of Culture, the Premia Reina Sofia de Composición Musical (2000) and the Siemens Foundation Advancement Award (1997), among others.